Chelsea transfer target Karim Benzema will “remain” at Al-Ittihad this month, according to The Athletic reporter David Ornstein.
The trusted journalist claims that the 5-time Champions League winner is not expected to leave Saudi Arabia before the transfer window shuts on Thursday night.
Benzema went on holiday without permission and returned late to training after the Saudi Pro League’s mid-season break.
It prompted speculation that the 36-year-old could move to the Premier League, with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all said to be in the frame for his signature.
Benzema’s salary proved to be a massive obstacle
While Ornstein doesn’t provide a reason why the Frenchman will be staying at Al-Ittihad, it is widely thought that the striker’s £1.6m a week wages made any transfer almost impossible.
In addition to English clubs, his former team Lyon were trying to find a way of securing Benzema’s services, but the cost of the deal was said to be too high.
Al-Ittihad were reluctant to sanction a move, and any team would have had to bankroll his eyewatering salary if they wanted to bring in him. The alternative would have been for Benzema to accept a massive pay cut, but it seems the forward was unwilling to do that.
Will Chelsea sign another striker before the deadline?
As things stand, the Blues are not expected to make a move to sign a new No.9. There was interest in signing Jhon Duran from Aston Villa earlier this month but the Colombian has subsequently picked up an injury, which has put a stop to any potential deal.
There is a chance that a forward will leave Stamford Bridge in the coming days, though, with multiple reports suggesting that Fulham are locked in talks to sign Armando Broja.
Chelsea’s asking price is said to be £50m but there is a belief that the club may compromise on their valuation to allow a transfer to go ahead.